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Tag Archives: Irish Reels

Da Rodd ta Houll (D)

“Da Rodd ta Houll” is a Shetland reel in D, also called “Da Road to Hull.” It was written by Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson (1910-1991) who once stated (in dialect): “Dis tun was written in 1936 whin I came up to Unst to visit a schoolmaister friend o’ mine. It happened ‘t dat moarnin wis […]

The Bonnie Isle O’ Whalsay (A)

The reel “The Bonnie Isle O’ Whalsay” has sundry variations. This is (arguably) a Shetland reel, as Whalsay is a small island in the Shetlands.  Of course, a tune and its name can have very different origins, so tune names alone are a poor basis for determining tune ontogeny.  However, this tune does also have a certain Shetlandishness about it, […]

The Wise Maid (D)

The reel known as “The Wise Maid” seems to date only from the 1970s, but is now in the top twenty most widely-known Irish reels in the world. The well-known whistle player Larry McCullough, in his The Complete Irish Tinwhistle Tutor (1987), attributes the tune to the Ardara, Co. Donegal, fiddler John Doherty (1900-1980), as does accordionist […]

Cooley’s Reel (Edor)

Cooley’s Reel is so popular at sessions around the world that it is sometimes played in different keys/modes (esp. Bdor and Ddor) just for a diversion.  There are those, of course, who place it just inside their “too popular” category, and those that place it just outside.  As I actually lack that category in my repertoire, […]

The Banshee (G)

The reel entitled “The Banshee” is a session favorite pretty much everywhere.  It was composed by James McMahon (b. ≈1900), a flute player originally from South Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland.  He married Rose Tally, eventually moved to Belfast, and became an influential flute player there.  He composed several other well-known tunes, including “The Ivory Flute” (he actually played […]

Mountain Road (D)

“The Mountain Road” is a reel composed by Michael Gorman (1895-1970), an Irish fiddler from County Sligo.  When he was young, his foster parents sent him for fiddle lessons to James Gannon (who taught Michael Coleman). Willie Clancy used to tell a story about a nine year old Gorman: “Gannon wrote out the tunes in his […]

Silver Spear (D)

The reel “The Silver Spear” is a popular session tune, more so at one time, but still surely in the top ten worldwide session repertoire.  It is followed almost ineluctable by “Humours of Tulla” around Kansas City, and is common also at slow sessions everywhere, such as the Musique Irlandaise slow session at the Quiet Man pub in […]